More OMNY delays as new MTA vending machines are months late

22:54 18.09.2023 - New York Post

The MTA promised to begin a widespread roll-out this summer of more convenient OMNY card-refill machines - but not a single device has been installed yet, the agency quietly disclosed Monday.

The embarrassing delay is the latest headache to confront the popular but problem-plagued tap and pay system, which is years behind schedule in getting fully up and running - and now expected to cost $772 million, at least $130 million more than originally budgeted.

The machine snafu was disclosed in slides provided to one of the MTA's oversight committees but was not directly referenced in the accompanying presentation Monday - until pressed by board member Andrew Albert.

Jessica Lazarus, a top official in the MTA's construction and development arm, responded, "We're putting the final touches on it, so, I think you'll quite soon when they'll start to hit.

"It will be a slow and steady rollout to get them throughout the system," she said.

The machines will finally allow cash-paying straphangers who use OMNY's pre-paid tap cards to easily refill their cards.

The slides revealed that the MTA hopes to get a limited number installed beginning this fall, with a wider rollout now expected for sometime in 2024.

An MTA spokesman later told The Post, "After a period of testing and pre-testing that lasted through the summer, we are installing the OMNY machines in four boroughs starting this week."

The agency's tone Monday was much different than MTA construction and development boss Jamie Torres-Springer in April, when he agency showed off the prototypes of the machines.

"Our intention is to start rolling them out to all 472 subway stations, beginning this summer," Torres-Springer said.

OMNY has been plagued by a toxic stew of programming snafus, pivoting priorities, pandemic-related delays and management turnover in the last three years, as the MTA has blown self-imposed deadline after deadline to get the program back on track.

Originally, authorities hoped the program would produce a single-fare system that would potentially link the entire region, stitching together the MTA's subways, buses and commuter railroads with the Port Authority's PATH train and other transit agencies in Westchester and on Long Island.

The goal was that a single system could issue a ticket or pass to go from Hoboken to Huntington, LI, for example.

The Port Authority ultimately opted to build its own new separate tap-and-pay fare system, using the same contractor the MTA hired to build OMNY.

/ Monday, September 18, 2023, 10:54 PM /

themes:  Subway

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